Updated: August 22, 2019 by Stan Cobb
(Next Update: August 29, 2019)
Saltwater - Bay fishing is good and is about to get better for many species. Many feel that the Cobia fishing is best in late August and through September. Many charters are reporting limits everyday, and fish up to 65 lbs were caught in the last week. Sight casting with live Eels is still the most reliable way to trigger strikes. There hasn't been many reports of Red Drum roaming about this week, but this shouldn't last long. Soon they will be inhabiting hard structures, like the artificial reefs. As mentioned earlier, many of the bay species will get better as we enter September, except for the Spadefish inside the bay. The sizes of the Spades being caught these days, are much smaller. However, Bill Potts, and Bill Nash, AKA Sig and Dos, wore the Spades out at the bridge tunnel earlier this week. The Flounder seemed to have slowed this week, but will pick up as we edge closer to September. Year after year, the biggest Flounder seem to get caught during September. The bridge tunnel, the Cell, some of the artificial reefs, and ocean wrecks are what's to be targeted. Live Spot is usually best for the big Flounder. Triggerfish are being caught at the pilings of the bridge tunnel, along with wrecks and other hard structures inside the bay. Tautog are also being caught from the CBBT structures. Spanish Mackerel are showing up from the mouth of the bay, to the Potomac River. Trolling with Drone and Clark spoons on in line sinkers, or diving planers, works well. Using a surface bird, in front of the spoon will also draw plenty of strikes. Use a shorter line behind the bird than with the sinkers and planers. Look for the Spot bite to pick up heavily as we approach September. There are a lot of folks that anticipate the Spot run every year, as this is a passage similar to the Shad run. Bloodworms seem to work best. The Speckled Trout bite has picked up slightly, which will also get better as we see the daylight hours decrease. Good places have been Gwynn's Island, inside the Piankatank River, the Rappahannock River, and Bayside creeks along the Eastern Shore. Out in the depths of the ocean, anglers are returning with good numbers and catches of Mahi this week. Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo have been brought back, and some Blue Marlin were caught and released this week. Along the surf and piers of the Outer Banks, folks have been catching Red Drum, Sea Mullet, Spot, and Pompano.
Freshwater - On the freshwater scene, the bait is on the move! Anglers should be prepared to explore the upper reaches of their lakes, as this is where the coolest water is, generally. Downsizing is also a good tactic, as these transition Bass can be size selective. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and small worms such as ringworms, work well. The upper reaches usually have a slight stain to them, making the fish less spooky, and shallower. Know the lake levels however, as the lack of rainfall can make navigating these upper reaches difficult sometimes. Lakes like Kerr have power generation, which also draws the levels down. The current elevation of Kerr Lake is 299.74'. This is right at normal level, or full pool. The upper reaches of Kerr has many sandbars where the Dan and Staunton rivers enter the lake. Extreme caution is advised when entering these areas. Crankbaits are playing a major role in Bass catches right now and will continue throughout the late summer and fall. Shallow , mid depth, and deep areas should be explored, but the 8-12' depths are usually the most productive. Trolling has been better for the Stripers on Anna still. The mid lake areas have been better. Shallow to mid depth areas are to be targeted on the tidal rivers, but there's always a shallow bite. Whether it's the Chickahominy or the James, the shallow cover should be probed first. Look for the topwater bite to increase in the next few weeks, and continue into October. The wood cover is typically better on the James, and the vegetation is usually better on the Chick. The barge pit on the James has the potential to produce big bags at any time, even during the hottest times. The upper James is low and clear, making the small fishing a bit tough for both navigating and fishing success. Early and late are your best times for the bigger fish. Small baits and long casts with light line will get more strikes. Flathead fishing has been good during the evening and overnight hours.